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What next for these empty buildings in the heart of Ipswich town centre?

13:23 26 February 2016

Empty buildings in Ipswich. Lower Brook St.

Empty buildings in Ipswich. Lower Brook St.

Archant

Like every town and city in the country, Ipswich town centre has a number of empty buildings waiting for new uses.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Upper Orwell Street.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Upper Orwell Street.

There is nothing essentially wrong with having some empty units – property professionals and town centre managers say it is necessary to have about 5%-10% of sites vacant to allow for new stores to arrive and refresh a shopping centre. Today we look at some of the empty units that are seeking new uses.

Odeon cinema, St Helen’s Street

Empty buildings in Ipswich.Empty buildings in Ipswich.

The old cinema next to The Regent in St Helen’s Street has stood empty for a decade.

It is now owned by the same group that is currently converting the Buttermarket into a leisure-based centre with Empire Cinemas.

Although there are no plans for the future of the building at present, it is hoped its new owners will look for a new use for it once they have finished their current project.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.Empty buildings in Ipswich.

Shops, Upper Orwell Street

One of the properties in this parade was sold at auction by Eddisons in Leeds on February 25.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Upper Orwell Street.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Upper Orwell Street.

It could possibly be converted into homes – but its final use will depend on what the new owner wants.

The others are yet to be sold.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Upper Orwell Street.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Upper Orwell Street.

Napoli Deli and Tandoori House, Upper Orwell Street

Upper Orwell is home to a string of take away stores, offering cuisine from around the world.

Sadly the Napoli Deli, which offered Italian cuisine, and the Tandoori House, specialising in Balti and vegetarian cuisine, closed recently.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Upper Orwell Street.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Upper Orwell Street.

The units now stand empty but it is unlikely they will remain so for long.

Co-op Department Store, Carr Street

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Carr St.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Carr St.

The Co-op Department Store in Carr Street was sold to Vergo Retail in 2009 but closed soon after.

Part of the ground floor is now the Age UK charity shop but much of the rest of the building is vacant.

This part of town is earmarked for residential development and this impressive building could become up-market apartments.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Carr St.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Carr St.

Izzi Izaiah, Tacket Street

This bridal store closed recently, located next to Peggy’s Place, has been closed for some months. It is one of several units along this stretch of road which is seeking new occupants.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Tacket St.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Tacket St.

Groove Nightclub, Northgate Street

A planning application has been submitted by easyHotel to create a 94-room superbudget hotel in the heart of the town centre.

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Northgate Street.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Northgate Street.

See more here.

Seatons Estate Agents, Great Colman Street

Empty buildings in Ipswich.
Great Coleman Street.Empty buildings in Ipswich. Great Coleman Street.

The estate agents vacated their premises at the junction of Northgate Street and Great Colman Street. The business is now run by Fine & Country, which is based in the neighbouring unit.

Ipswich Building Society, Upper Brook Street

Empty buildings in Ipswich.Empty buildings in Ipswich.

The former headquarters at the junction of Upper Brook Street and Dogs Head Street later became home to a discount store trading as the 90p Store but has now stood empty for many years.

KPMG offices in Lower Brook Street

These offices have only been empty since KPMG moved out in November last year, and new tenants are actively being sought to replace them.

15 comments

  • Not only has Ipswich lost its shops and shop owners. Since the 1970,s Ipswich has lost the fun aspect........ Our beloved Broomhill........Pipers Vale.....The Lucania Snooker Hall.....Mr Browns snooker club....Premier Pool Club.....Youth Clubs.....Fish n Chip shops.....pubs....nightclubs....The Carribean Club......and to a certain degree Ipswich lost its reasonably priced football club. Even the CAMRA Wet Dock beer festival had to up and move elsewhere probably because it was too popular. Maybe the authorities want it that way. It is a shame the wasted millions have been squandered elsewhere instead of investing in our town centre streets.

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Wednesday, March 2, 2016

  • It is heart breaking to see the lack of effort aimed at making our town centre great again . There must be something fundamentally wrong when it is near-on impossible for a shop owner to survive. The cost of a lease, rent, shop fitting, stock and business rates make the whole experience a waste of time. Questions have to be asked why the streets have not been block paved and tidied up to attract shop keepers and shoppers. With the Golden Lion now put up for sale it makes you think that there is a queue for businesses to leave the town centre. Maybe the £3 million + spent on the Cornhill revamp could be spent elsewhere. The whole of the town centre needs to get refurbished to attract a vibrant atmosphere again. A subsidised scheme to get the shops open again. Lower business rates. More streets to be pedestrianized. More green space. A more suitable outdoor market space. A flea market selling antiques and collectable stuff. A street performers area like Covent Garden. Something needs to be added to keep people in this town centre. If the authorities object to enterprise and anything to transform this town centre then Ipswich will continue to be a ghost town. How and WHY did the purchase of the British Sugar Factory site get preference over our dying town centre ? To protect the town centre ?

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Oh dear, I hate to be negative about the town I had come to love, as it provided me with good employment for many years ( at W.S.Cowell one of the best colour printers in the UK ) but since 1975 when I first came to live here I have seen this once beautiful market town slowly spiral downwards. The rot started when the police licensing authorities allowed encouraged so many nightclubs and bars to open in the town centre bringing so many of the worst elements from surrounding areas into Ipswich eventually making the town at night an unpleasant place to be. Also the whole one-way system into and out of Ipswich looks like a bombsite, it's an absolute disgrace for any visitor to get this as their first impression, and it's been like this for over 30 years - YES THAT'S RIGHT OVER 30 YEARS - the only word to describe this is DISGRACEFUL ! So many empty shop premises and half vacant shopping malls and large stores disappearing over the horizon make trading difficult for the hard working shop owners still here in what looks like a decaying town where one needs a degree in Eastern European languages to comprehend the situation. With so many empty premises and charity shops not contributing to business rates this puts further pressure on the town business managers to try and plan for the future. When we have devolution from central government Ipswich will deteriorate at an ever increasing downward spiral ( not so the likes of thriving areas as Norwich, Bury St Edmunds, Kensington and Chelsea with full shopping streets contributing to the business rates making these towns much more exciting to visit and spend our money ) I am truly sad to say that Ipswich looks like it has gone past the point of no return, How on earth did this happen to our lovely town so fast .

    Report this comment

    capeldave

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • Sadly our county town seems to be rotting away. These buildings are just the tip of the iceburg, and I'm not entirely sure what the answer is. Online shopping may have been the cause of some of the demise of small businesses, but not all - I see one of these used to be a bridal shop and no one buys a wedding dress on line and unseen. I suspect a lot of it is connected with the 'feel' of the place, and a corresponding lack of people with money to spend feeling the need to go there. As for 'up-market apartments' I doubt it. Most of the developments in recent years seem to have been sold off cheap presumably in desperation, some providing accommodation to the tsunami of folk who don't hail from these parts who seem to have been drawn to the place over the last 10 years or so. Regeneration needs courage, a clear plan and hard cash. Unfortunately I just don't think the current administration have got what it takes.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • So the Coop might yet become "up-market apartments". No denying the impressiveness of the building itself, but "upmarket" buys you surrounding ambience - you know, Christchurch Park, The Marina - that stuff. "Stroll along Carr St dear?" "I'd like that - could we also stroll down Cox Lane, round by Tacket St so that we can take in Upper Orwell St on our way back?" Hmm!

    Report this comment

    floreat

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • Give it a few months and you can add a photo of the vacant Ipswich Star premises in Lower Brook Street. Now we all know there are grandiose plans for redevelopment of the site, but when can we expect that to start? Not any time soon would be my guess...

    Report this comment

    M Prime

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • And another thing, the old Ipswich Building Society building that has "lain empty for years", if the camera panned right just a bit there are posters saying "opening soon"... can't remember what it is but it defeats the point of the article and lack of "churn" does it not?

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • Not wishing to be pedantic but... aren't the two buildings in the lead picture in LOWER Brook Street? And as another contributor pointed out they are fully occupied. Let's hope he doesn't find a picture of Myrtle Road after the blitz and start asking when that's going to get rebuilt.

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • Paul Geater shows only a snapshot of the many, to many, empty buildings in Ipswich. One he doesn't mention and has intrigued me for years is an empty shop in a prime position on the corner of Musem St and Westgate St. I think it was Sportizus or something like that. It's been empty for years but several months ago workmen were inside stripping it all out. I waited with bated breath to see which top retailer had forced their way to the top of the queue and were about to open up this retailing gem of a property. However, no sooner had the workmen appeared, they disappeared never to return. If that retailer had dropped out, surely by now retailer number 2 or 3 or 4 or 100 on the long list of wannabe retailers in the jewel that is Ipswich would be beating the doors down of whoever it is to sign on the bottom line. Story to be continued. Paul Geater could do better by updating us all on what has happened to all those retailers that were queuing up to get into the shopping haven of Ipswich, were are they, when are they coming, etc etc. Don't you just hate it when people think you are stupid?

    Report this comment

    how'd the town do

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • And then there is also County Hall, a public asset sold for a pittance by SCC and then left to rot. A public disgrace.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • If Ipswich central ltd were doing such a great job as they have been in charge of the business district in Ipswich since 2007 why so many empty buildings...as they mainly concentrate on the waterfront in this town and have done for the last few years the rest of the town gets neglected...I am unsure how the new devolution bill will work but its my understanding that councils can keep hold of the business rates generated from 2020...perhaps Mr Geater can enlighten us on how the new business rates will work under devolution and can we get rid of the BID system (Ipswich central) that charges an extra 1% levy on top of standard business rates... so far that private ltd company has netted gross nearly £7million off Ipswich businesses since there introduction in 2007.. for me that's ridiculous in such tough trading times and had that money been re invested in the town instead of a quango then it might have made a difference.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Friday, February 26, 2016

  • I often wonder the same, lovely old building which has been empty for decades....someone must own it...as for the main picture of the 2 empty properties in Lower Brook Street....they have both been full occupied for over 4 years now !

    Report this comment

    Jon

    Thursday, February 25, 2016

  • I've always wondered about that "Bar Fontaine" opposite Christchurch Park. That has surely been vacant since the 80's. Do living people own these places? Must be nice to miss out on nearly thirty years of rent and not have to care.

    Report this comment

    The moderators are facists

    Thursday, February 25, 2016

  • Zara , Superdry , Next ?? oh , that was yesterdays non story .....big box retail anyone ? All of the stores queueing to get into Ipswich .. they will snap up the above in no time .

    Report this comment

    sgm

    Thursday, February 25, 2016

  • Surprised . With all the businesses queuing up i am sure they will soon be filled with Top Retailers .... Or should we say " Could soon be filled " ?

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, February 25, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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